France's Macron confirms hostage taking, shootings "terrorist attack"

Updated 2018-03-24 09:23:03 Xinhua

French President Emmanuel Macron confirmed Friday that the shootings and the hostage-taking at a supermarket in the southern town of Trebes were "an Islamist terrorist attack."

"Our country has suffered an Islamist terrorist attack. The terrorist was identified and shot dead during the assault," Macron said.

The French president added that three people were killed and 16 others were injured, including a senior police officer. Among the injured, two are in critical condition.

"The investigation will give answers to a number of important questions: when did he become radicalized? How did he obtain the weapon?" he added.

Earlier on Friday, Redouane Lakdim, 26, killed one person and wounded another before stealing a car. Later on, he opened fire on police officers while they were jogging in Carcassone, injuring one person. Then he headed to Trebes where he killed two people before he was shot dead.

The Islamic State group claimed responsibility for the attack. French security services are studying the authenticity of this claim, Macron said.

Speaking to reporters as he arrived at the scene, Interior Minister Gerard Collomb said Lakdim was believed to have acted alone. He was known to police for robbery and drug trafficking, but had no sign of radicalization.

"He was known for possession of drugs. We couldn't have said that he was a radical that would carry out an attack," he said.

The French anti-terrorism division of the Paris prosecutor has opened an investigation into the attack.

France has become a major target of frequent terrorist attacks following its military operations in Syria, Iraq, and the Sahel region.

A wave of attacks, claimed by the Islamic State, has disrupted the usual calm in France. The bloodiest was in Paris where a series of explosives and shootings left 130 victims dead on Nov. 13, 2015.

On October 2017, Macron signed an anti-terrorism law which he said was necessary to combat the high threat of terrorism.

The bill enshrines emergency security rules into ordinary law that allow police to have more power to search and make arrests without a judge's approval and restrict people movements and gathering.

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